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Logan Martin Bass Staging To Feed
Bass are moving to shallow structure that’s still close to deep water, and they’re feeding good in February. Here are 10 locations to set your pattern.
 
By Ronnie Garrison
Originally published in the February 2018 issue of AON
 
Tim Ward with a pair of Logan Martin bass caught last month during a trip with the author to mark a map with 10 February locations.
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Although winter may still have a firm grip on fishermen, bass are responding to the longer days. Now is when bass start to feed up for the coming spawn and venture from deep water to nearby shallows to eat. At Logan Martin, this means bass are on deep rocky banks that have shallow cover and on shallow points that drop into channels.

Logan Martin is on the Coosa River east of Birmingham. Everyone has probably driven over it where I-20 crosses the lake near Pell City, but you need to consider a fishing trip, especially in February.

Logan Martin is full of fat Coosa spotted bass and quality largemouth. The reservoir is lined with rocky river-channel shorelines with docks and points at mouths of creeks and coves. Both spots and largemouth are feeding on this staging-area structure this time of year.

Tim Ward grew up fishing Logan Martin. He and his family often stayed at a campground in Clear Creek, and Tim had a small boat to explore the nearby area and learn to catch bass. Tim really got into bass fishing when he was 13, and he fished his first tournament when 18. His experience club fishing led him to join the Auburn Bass Team, and he fished with the university team from 2011 to 2015.

Now Tim fishes with the Marathon Bassmasters in Birmingham, and he is working toward a move to the pro side of big tournaments by competing as a co-angler in BFLs. Tim placed second in a Bass Nation tournament and won a couple of BFLs on the co-angler side. He also fished the ABT Southern Division.

Logan Martin is Tim’s home lake, and he fishes it often. He knows the bass start feeding more and more in late January and all during February, even if the water remains cold. Toward the end of February, when the water does start warming, the bass get even more active.

“All during February, Logan Martin bass still want to be near deep water, but they will move shallow to feed,” Tim said.

A rocky river-channel bank with a shallow ledge along it is a good place to find February bass, as are points that drop into deep water. Rocks are the key, but wood cover on this structure also helps.

To effectively fish these kinds of places, Tim relies on a variety of baits. A jerkbait, crankbait, rattle bait and ChatterBait all allow Tim to cover water quickly and find feeding fish. If he is not finding active fish, a shaky head will always catch bass on Logan Martin under any conditions.

The water is usually a brownish stained color this time of year, with clearer water in some of the creeks. The water color controls Tim’s choice of lure colors. Shad colors are good in clearer water, but brighter colors like chartreuse are better if the water is stained. In muddy water, Tim says red is hard to beat.

We fished on a cold, cloudy and windy day in early January and caught some spots and largemouth on several of these places as we logged the GPS coordinates and marked a map for this article.

No. 1: N 33º 29.288 – W 86º 14.998
— Going up the river from Cropwell Branch, the river makes an “S” bend, and Powell’s Campground is on the left bank if you’re heading upstream. The right bank across from Powell’s is an outside bend with docks on it, and wood cover washes in and collects here. This is a good example of the kind of river bank Tim likes to fish in February.

As the river turns back to the left, there is a big bay on the right with a smaller bay just upstream of it. Start at the upstream point of the upstream bay. It has a dock on it with a covered boat slip, and there is a matching smaller covered deck on the bank. There is a small private ramp on the upstream side of the dock.

Start at the point, and fish upstream while casting to the bank. Make sure to fish any wood cover you find and all the docks along this bank. Your boat will be in 20 feet of water or deeper a fairly short cast off the bank, but there is a small shelf the docks sit on, and bass move up out of the channel to feed all along this shelf.

Tim will fish all the way up to the next pocket if he is getting bit. But if he fishes a hundred yards of this bank without a bite, he will move to another place. He does not expect to catch a bunch of bass in one spot this time of year. He is looking for individual feeding bass that are holding on the cover.

No. 2: N 33º 30.754 – W 86º 15.618 — Going back down the river, there is a double creek entering on the outside bend on your right. There are two islands in the mouth of this double creek. The downstream point runs way out to the creek channel and river channel, and bass stage and feed on this point until moving in to spawn.

We rode over this point, and Tim’s electronics lit up with baitfish holding near the bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water. Baitfish are always a good sign that bass are in the area. We did not stay long since the wind was blowing strong, but if you can fish a place like this, you should stay on it and cover it carefully.

Keep your boat in 25 feet of water off the end of the point, and fan cast all over the point. Cast toward the bank where it will be in 8 to 10 feet deep, and you can cover it out to about 12 feet deep with a crankbait that dives that deep. He likes a chartreuse-and-cream color and wants his crankbait to bump the bottom from 6 to 12 feet deep.

Also try a rattlebait in places like this. Cast it to water about 8 feet deep, and work it out to about 15 feet deep, the depth range Tim expects feeding bass to hold in right now. Work it back by slow-rolling it near the bottom or pumping it up and letting it fall back.

No. 3: N 33º 29.529 – W 86º 17.354 — Going down the river past the mouth of Cropwell Creek, the first opening on your right is a cove with docks in it, and there is another smaller pocket just downstream of it. Bass stage on the points of both of these pockets before moving in to spawn in the pockets.

The downstream point of the downstream pocket is rocky with a dock on it. The upstream side is flatter, and it has docks along it, too. Tim likes to fish both sides of this pocket this time of year. Cast a ChatterBait and square-bill crankbait to the dock posts. Try to bump the posts with the square-bill. Tim uses a Strike King 1.5 in chartreuse and black. Bump it off dock posts and any other wood cover on the bank.

Also work a shaky head around the docks and wood cover, and probe for brush around the docks with the jig-head worm. The first dock on the upstream side has a yellow bench on it, and there is a good brushpile out from it. We missed a couple of bites in that brushpile, as the wind made it hard to fish a shaky head during our trip.

No. 4: N 33º 26.822 – W 86º 17.321 — Run down to Clear Creek and in to the bridge. The rip-rap on the bridge holds Logan Martin bass all month long, and more bass move to it as they work up the creek toward spawning areas. Fish both sides of the rip-rap on both ends of the bridge.

Fish the rocks with a jerkbait and crankbait. Tim says a Megabass 110 jerkbait in sexy shad is hard to beat. The water in here is usually clearer, as the creek name implies. A shad-colored crankbait bumped along the rocks 8 to 12 feet deep will also catch fish. Both baits allow you to cover the rip-rap quickly.

Work the rocks with a shaky head, too. A fairly light head will get hung up less on the rocks. Tim uses a 3/16- to 1/4-oz. head, and he uses a green pumpkin or junebug Zoom Trick Worm or a Zoom Finesse Worm. He also dips the tail of the worm in chartreuse dye. Fish it with a drag-and-shake action.

No. 5: N 33º 26.928 - W 86º 16.688 — Going up the left arm of the creek, a long point comes off the right bank and runs over halfway across it. The creek channel runs along the upstream side, and the end runs out to where the channel swings around it. There are big rocks and a danger marker sign on the end of the point.

Keep your boat in 25 feet of water, and fish the end and upstream side with a jerkbait and crankbait. Try different cadences with the jerkbait, but Tim says the typical jerk-jerk-pause works well most days. Pause the bait longer in colder water. Also try your shaky head here. We caught a keeper spot here on a shaky head.

No. 6: N 33º 26.839 – W 86º 18.577 — Going down the lake from Clear Creek, there is a big cove on your left. Arms run off both sides in the back. There are good channels running into both arms, and there are a lot of docks along the banks. Bass begin to move into this cove before the spawn and hold along the channels, moving up to the shallows to feed this month.

Tim said this is one of his favorite Logan Martin areas. We fished all the way around the cove and caught a good largemouth and two spots, as well as missing several bites. Start at the dock on the left as you enter the pocket. It’s in front of a brick boathouse at the mouth of the arm that goes back to the left. There is a flag pole on the bank beside the dock and a cement boat ramp going to the boathouse.

The water is shallow along the banks here, and Tim chooses a ChatterBait and square-bill to fish around the docks and gravel banks. The largemouth hit a ChatterBait, and the spots hit the crankbait here. Fish any cover you come across along the bank.

Also fish your shaky head here. Some of the docks have brush in front of them where the bass feed. Probe for the brush, and work it thoroughly with your shaky head. Fish all the way to the last dock on the right side.

No. 7: N 33º 26.927 – W 86º 18.704
— The upstream point of this big cove has rip-rap around it. There’s a white bird house on the bank and big rocks up shallow. Rocks also extend out to deep water on the point, which runs across the mouth of the cove.

There were bass and baitfish on it when we rode over it, and we caught a largemouth out in 15 feet of water. Stop out in 25 feet of water off the end of the point, and fan cast it with a shaky head, crankbait and rattlebait. Then work toward the bank, covering the shallows around it with a square-bill crankbait and shaky head.

No. 8: N 33º 26.659 – W 86º 19.208 — A little farther down the lake toward the dam, a long point runs out from the left bank and drops into a saddle before rising back up to a small island. There is a yellow smiley-face flag on it, and there are rocks all around it and a big tree off the bank on the downstream side. The river channel runs right off the outside point of it.

Start at the saddle on the upstream side, and work around the island with your jerkbait. When you get to the outside point, keep your boat in 15 feet of water and cover the point with both a jerkbait and shaky head. This point is one of the few places Tim expects bass to school up, and he says you can catch a lot of fish on it when it’s right.

No. 9: N 33º 26.469 – W 86º 19.673 — Across the lake, a big island with a causeway sits near the right bank (the right bank if you’re heading toward the dam). The outside bank of this island drops off fast, and it has rocks and docks on it. There is a small pocket halfway down the bank.

Tim starts on the upstream side of the pocket at the dock that’s in front of a house with red umbrellas by it. He then fishes around the pocket. Tim says this is a good place to catch a big Logan Martin bass this time of year. Fish all around the pocket and the docks on both sides with a ChatterBait, jerkbait, square-bill and shaky head. Tim uses the Z-Man 1/2-oz. ChatterBait with a chartreuse-and-white skirt.

No. 10: N 33º 27.487 – W 86º 17.826 — Back up the lake on your right, Clear Creek Harbor Marina is at the mouth of Clear Creek. The marina has a rip-rap breakwater point running off the right bank. Bass hold and feed all along this rip-rap on both sides, and bass usually concentrate on the end. We lost a decent fish here that was right on the edge where the rocks meet the water.

Fish all the way around the rip-rap point with a crankbait and jerkbait. Get in close to the rocks and parallel them, especially if there is wind blowing in on them. There was a good chop on the water here when we fished, perfect for this time of year.

If the wind is not blowing, stay off the rocks and cast a shaky head to the edge of the rocks and work it all the way back to the boat. This is a good spawning pocket, so bass gang up along the rocks as they get ready to move in and spawn.

All these Logan Martin locations places are excellent in late January and February, and many similar places hold bass right now. Check Tim’s favorites to see when he looks for, and then you can find many similar production locations all over the lake.
 
 
 
 
 
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